You have to take that to Aling Miriam.
She flashed Jamie an irritated look. How many times had she brought up that subject? Pulling her arm off from Jamie’s hands, unrolling her sleeves down, she walked ahead and heaved out a deep sigh. She stopped for a second and looked up as if in search for relief. Dark clouds. They’d been there since yesterday.
Jamie caught up. I’m sorry. But I’m your only friend. If I didn’t know what’s best for you, I don’t know who does.
Thanks for constantly reminding me that.
And she continued walking. Away and fast.
The air was musty. It’s extremely humid and claustrophobic. There was scarcely a source of light. No windows but a small hole on the wall, not even two inches wide. That’s her only gateway view to what’s outside. Not that she’s eager to see’s what’s out there. Or that she wanted to be seen.
She’s accustomed to sweating. That’s one of the things she mastered ever since she could remember. She did not understand comfort. Or perhaps one would not understand what they did not come to know.
She’s looking back at the girl standing in front of her. Her eyes were piercing she wanted to look away. But her figure was one nobody could stray away from. It was not the first instance she came across her. Her eyes bore the exact sadness she saw the first couple of times she saw her. She was naked. Her body’s a work of a thousand unspoken words. She could tell she was beautiful at one point in her life. Misery has worn her down. She’s marred in every way. Body and soul. Mirrors never lied.
Why wouldn’t you love me back?
Because I can’t. Stop this, please. You won’t understand.
Why not? I need to know, please tell me.
I just don’t love you. I can’t.
And she walked away. He was left on his knees, waiting for the clouds to start pouring.
She pulled her dress up and turned from the mirror. She mingled with the dimness of the room, avoiding the thin ray of light passing through the tiny hole on her wall as she walked to one corner and sat down. Tear drops fell to the floor.
Now why would you let a perfectly caring and handsome guy out there in the rain? Not only was that soap opera-dramatic but gravely insane. Have you gone completely crazy? Jamie’s words echoed in the hallway.
You know I can’t involve myself in another relationship. You perfectly know what happened in the past.
You’re scared of what you don’t know. I’d say, go out there, take risks, forget about your past, be happy.
I know what I’m doing.
You don’t believe that.
The sky. Clear, magical. The stars danced with the sound of silence; the trees, grasses, at the slow swoosh of the wind. The moon was at the center, shading everything underneath with its light.
She was thirsty. I have to go find water.
She found herself by a stream, fighting her gasps as she drank dry from the palms of her hands. How she found the stream, she considered instinct. An impulse. Something inside her voiced she’d been there sometime before. Not a very long time ago. Her chest relaxed, her body was relieved of the tremble. The nauseating feeling was gone and she felt she could breathe again.
Clouds passed along the moon, elegantly letting through streaks of glorious light. And she remembered why she was there.
Something was approaching. She could tell it by the low-toned noise from afar. It’s nearing her direction. She trusted her impulse. And her impulse said run.
Now she could hear the growl. And she’s more afraid than tired. She stopped minding her toes wounded and strained. She realized she was barefoot and for probably hours. She tried to keep herself from looking back, but she needed to know how faster she should run.
Then something grabbed her by the neck.
She was pulled back, unable to use her limbs to resist the force. The hands were rough and strong. She could feel her neck being crashed and she was too weak to do something about it. She felt her back cracked when she landed on the ground. Now she’s being held tight by the hands and it made it harder for her to move, let alone fight. Then a voice spoke to her face, the breath was putrid. She opened her eyes and she was terrified as hell.
You’re with me, once again. Thanks for coming back.
She screamed at the top of her lungs. Sweating, she reached for something at her side. She dropped an uncapped bottle and spilled the water from her lamp desk. She’s down on her knees at the foot of her bed. The clock ticked 3:00 AM.
She stood up, undressed herself and faced the mirror. And she could never be more terrified to see herself. She’d never be able to see her body again.
Wash them with soap and clean water. Apply this twice a day. It’s mashed wild leaves and lamb fat. Don’t skip.
She cringed at the pain as the old woman was putting on a greenish concoction over her neck wounds. Her skin turned numb after a while. Her whole body was.
Alright, turn your back to me please.
It was the old woman’s turn to cringe.
Her back was no better story. Bruises, cuts, wounds swelling on every surface.
She cried tears. She couldn’t hold it longer.
I do not know what to do. It keeps doing these horrible things to me in my dreams. I think it wants me to kill myself to save him the trouble. I fear that no one would ever take me because of these.
Aling Miriam let her cry for a moment.
You have every right to be terrified. It’s an angry demon. A very wild beast. Killing it will not be easy.
When the old woman was done treating her wounds, she poured them cups of tea.
Drink this, to make your nerves relax. It’s not easy, what you’re going through.
She took a sip.
Aling Miriam had to ask, How long has it been going around for you?
It started appearing in my dreams. I was so scared. Alone. I thought at first they were just dreams. but wounds started to appear on my body. I need to get away from it, whatever it is.
Did you not ask for any help? Where are your parents? Do they know?
My mother died when I was born.
And your dad?
I do not want to talk about him.
Then there was silence. The two women sipped their cups of tea quietly.
Tonight, you must face your fear. Demons are dangerous. They’re forceful, greedy creatures that will kill to get what they want. Lustful ones go for women your kind. Scared. Weak. They feed on innocence and pleasure themselves with helplessness. They have their own needs after all. Tonight you must face it.
She could never feel more sorry for what had become of her but she did not want another tear to fall. Before she let herself out of the door, the old lady said,
Some demons need to be faced. All it takes is courage to accept yourself for who you have become, regardless. We all are scarred in many, different ways but we must move forth. Forge that dagger. Sharpen it. Kill the demon and set yourself free.
The old woman’s words echoed in her head. Tonight, she must bravely face her fear once and for all. To put an end to it. She willed herself to sleep with not much ease and it took her long before she found herself lying by the stream once again. It was the same stream she’d been many times in the past. The moon was at the exact position as she remembered. At the background, an eerie silence.
Then a voice spoke beside her.
It’s been a while since you’ve been here purposefully.
She didn’t speak back. She’s afraid, but was trying to conceal it. He was lying next to her, naked.
I waited for so long. Why were you hiding from me?
She remained silent and focused of what she planned to go there for. He stood up in front of her. His silhouette, masking the light from the moon.
Then he advanced on top of her. He kissed her ears gently.
I have you now my baby girl. Everything’s alright. Ssshh.
Then his hand landed heavily on her face. It was all so sudden. Dizziness danced inside her head, she couldn’t make out anything. She felt his hands wildly run through every part of her body.
He was squeezing her breasts so hard she felt they were being crushed. His smell was suffocating. The grease all over his body was sticky and seemed to be binding them together so she couldn’t move.
She let out a faint cry when she felt him inside her.
You’re mine now. Completely mine. You will never go back. Not to the men you fantasize you’d have. You’re one silly whore. I’ll get inside of you to till you become mine.
It was long process of pain and lustful longing. Blood and dust. Sweat and everything mixed with the humid air of the night; the moon was the only witness to the terrible fate she succumbed to. Her whole body was painful. She’s bleeding and sweating at the same time. He kept slamming her bruised and wounded body in every direction.
He made her bend over. Her face rubbed against the soil and sharp, small rocks. She’s being held by her two arms stretched towards her back, her bones were breaking. She couldn’t take it anymore. The pain was outrageous.
He’s reaching his peak and so he continued with his thrusts. Faster and faster, he let out a loud cry.
She’s tired, almost lifeless. For one second, she thought she died.
I can’t. Not yet.
He turned her around, laid her on her back on the dirt. He looked right towards her eyes. The fright all came back to her. She recalled her purpose for letting him used her completely.
Your mom and I love you. Very much.
His mouth to her face, she could not stand the sour stench of his breath.
I will not let you feed on me again.
Lying down, she reached above her head in desperation. She caught something and took it with both her hands. In an instant, she managed to sit on top of the demon and pointed a dagger towards his neck.
I will kill you. You have inflicted me with so much pain and I couldn’t let you take control of my life, she heard herself say.
He flashed her a grin. You can’t do that. You’re too weak.
Her phone rang. She picked it up. It was her mom.
Your dad died today. Her voice couldn’t hide the sadness.
She’s quiet for almost a minute, her mom had to check if she’s still on the other end. She didn’t feel compelled to speak.
Aren’t you going to ask what happened to him? He’s still your father.
What happened to him?
He was killed in the prison by one of the guards. It was because of a little argument, it cost your father his life.
Serves him well. I often dreamed of his death.
Whatever he did to you, it doesn’t matter, not anymore. He was your father, and he’s dead. What he did to you was all your fault. Show some respect.
She had to hold her tears back.
I did not get my share of respect from him and I don’t care if you loved him, but he was sick and he deserved death and suffering more than anyone in this world.
With that, she hung up.
On the other line, her mother was devastated. She lost a daughter more than she lost a spouse.
She had to fight though his piercing look.
You cannot kill me. I am a part of you now and forever will be. You are scarred and broken and weak and nothing can ever fix you. Not even that dagger. Submit yourself to me, like you always did.
The dagger vertically thrust to the demon’s neck. She pulled it out and thrust it back. In and out, she repeated the process until the neck that connected the head from the body was almost entirely mashed. The demon laid lifelessly marinating in his own filthy blood.
Then she let go. And let herself free. She now must. All was over.
In her room, She woke up with eyes widely open. She realized she’s soaked in her own sweat. She blindly turned her lamp on and reached for a bottle of water on her side desk. She drank all that’s in it and continued running after her breath.
The nightmare was over, at last.
She stood up, undressed herself and looked at the mirror. She never thought she’d see the girl again. And this time, she bore a bit of peace in her eyes and a stance that of a woman. She brushed her hair back. She felt warmth. And finally, a bit of comfort.
Tonight was when she would never have to face her demon again. She looked down, held her belly, and whispered goodnight. A few months from then, she would give birth an angel who would completely free her from her past.